In this episode you will learn tools to use for stage four of the Creative Problem Solving process – Implement.
What You’ll Learn
- How to create a comprehensive action plan
- The importance of identifying Assisters and Resistors
- The power of the Jump Start Action
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Download the CPS Workbook
Subscribe to download the free Creative Problem Solving workbook, designed to be used with episodes 3-7.
You'll find 17 pages packed with activities, tips, and techniques to help you Clarify, Ideate, Develop and Implement your challenge.
You will also receive free monthly articles about creativity and teams, weekly podcast and blog posts, and occasional exclusive offerings.
- The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer
- Project Management Apps: Asana and Basecamp
Write a Review and Win!
Enter the Podcast Review Contest! Write a review by July 12, 2015 and you’ll be entered to win a free deck of Climer Cards or a series of three creativity coaching sessions with Amy Climer. Details here.
The Weekly Challenge
Your challenge for the week is to design your action plan and do one thing toward reaching your action plan. Share in the comments one step you did towards your plan!
Feel like reading instead of listening? Download the free PDF Transcript or read it below. Enjoy!
Transcript for Episode #007: Creative Problem Solving Stage 4 – Implement
Amy Climer: Welcome to The Deliberate Creative Podcast, episode #007. On today’s episode, we are going to talk about the fourth stage in the Creative Problem Solving Process – The Implement Stage.
Before we begin, I want to remind you that this is the last week of the podcast review contest and here is how it works. Everyone who submits a review on iTunes is entered to win one of two prizes – two people will be randomly selected to win a free deck of Climer Cards which I talked about in episode 5 and I’ll probably talk about it again. I’ll mail those cards to you and then one person and then one person who writes the best review will get free one-on-one coaching sessions with me.
The best review doesn’t necessarily mean a 5-star review because fortunately, there are a lot of those up there, but it means the review with the most depth and meaning. At the end of this episode, I’ll share a review with you one that is a great example. If you’re listening on your phone or if you’re on your computer while this episode is playing, go write a review. It means a lot to me and I really appreciate them.
This is the fourth episode in a four-part series covering each stage of the Creative Problem Solving process. If you are following along, then in the last episode you developed one or more ideas with the PPCO technique and you have a specific goal you want to move forward with. In this episode, you will be designing an action plan to help you implement your selected solution. To help you through the entire CPS process, I have created a free workbook for you. It has all the exercises from episodes 004-007 plus a couple bonus exercises in there for you. You can download the free workbook at ClimerConsulting.com/007. Go download that workbook and you could follow along with the episode.
What is the Implement Stage of the CPS? This is the stage where you put your ideas into action. For those of you who are do-ers, you will love this stage. As in the previous three stages, you will start with Diverging then move to Converging. As my friend, Mike Ford says, “you are going to make lists and then make choices. Then you’ll rinse and repeat.” You have already seen that a big part of the CPS is making lists and making choices.
For our first list today, we’re going to look at Assisters and Resistors. Assisters are those people who can help you implement your solution. They are advocates. They are allies. They are collaborators. They are connectors. Anyone who can help you in any way is an assister. On the other hand, you also have resistors. Often what I find is the more innovative, the more resistance there is initially.
Resistors are people who, for whatever reason, they are going to push back; they are not going to like the idea. They are going to resist the solution. You’re going to write down a list of all the assistors as well as ways that you can enlist their help. You’re also going to do the same for resistors and write down a list of who all those resistors might be and include reasons they might resist you, but also how you might help them overcome their resistance and move them from being a resistor into an assister.
Let me just make a couple of comments about resistors. Let’s imagine you’re working in an organization and whatever your challenge is in order to implement the solution, you need a lot of people on board. What I’ve seen in organizations is that the core team that’s working on the problem, they tend to want to ignore the resistors. They want to dismiss them. They are like, “Yeah, they are always a naysayer or …” Don’t do that. Often what happens is those resistors have some very good points and they are seeing things in ways that you don’t see. They might realize if we do this, if we implement this plan then we’re going to have these other problems. By listening to them, you could help figure out how can we implement this plan and not have those problems. Paying attention to resistors is really valuable. I have seen situations where resistors have been brought in, they have been listened to, their ideas have been incorporated and woven into the solution, and they then become some of the biggest advocates for the solution. Pay attention to the resistors. Don’t ignore them. Bring them in if you can.
You’re going to have a list of assisters and resistors. Then you’re going to create a massive to do list of all the things that need to happen in order for the solution to be implemented. I would recommend using Post-it notes again. What you’re going to do is just put one action item per Post-it note. Think about all the steps you need to take to implement the solution. Think about the immediate needs, the midterm needs, the long range needs. What needs to happen this coming week, this month? Think about what might need to be done a year from now. Think about what are some things that need to happen but they are going to take a year for them to happen. Think in all those different realms and you’re just going to do a brain dump. If you’re working with a team, everyone will have Post-it notes, everybody is doing this at the same time.
It’s also where you’re going to reference that list of assisters and resistors, and write down action steps of how you’ll bring them in. For instance, for one of the assisters, you might write down, “Call Susan and talk to her about the solution and see what she thinks.” That’s an action step. You want to get pretty specific if you can. You’re going to create this massive to do list and then you’re going to converge that to do list into an action plan.
You’re going to take all those Post-it notes and sort them into your short term, mid-term, and long-term piles. This is where if you have a team, everybody can share what those different ideas are that they have on their Post-it notes. If three or four people have the same action step, great, just pile all those Post-it notes on top of each other. That’s one action step.
Once you’ve sorted them into piles, you’re then going to transfer them into the action plan. In the workbook, you’re going to see a grid in there which you can recreate in Excel or whatever program you want to use, or you could just use it right there in the workbook. On the grid, you’ll see one the left side is where you’ll list the item and then you’re going to list who is responsible for it by when that item needs to be completed and then who is checking up. Who is going to help with the accountability? You’re going to do that for all the items. Start with short term and then repeat for mid- and long term items. You’re then going to have an action plan that’s going to help you get started.
It may be a little bit overwhelming, this huge list, so the next thing is what I call a Jump Start Action. Look at that list and figure out what is one thing you can do in the next few hours to implement this plan? How about the next 24 hours, within the next week? Those three things – next few hours, next 24 hours, and then the next week. Star or circle those items and as soon as you’re done listening to this podcast, start with that very first one. What’s something you can do right now? Is there an email you can send to invite someone to coffee to talk about your idea? Is there a phone call you can make? Is there a quick update to your website you could do? Whatever it is, pick a couple of things that you can do right away.
You may have heard this quote. It has been credited to both Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein. That is, “Creativity is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” We are now in the 99% perspiration stage. Everything that you have done up until this point is that inspiration part. That’s where you’ve gotten the ideas and now comes the hard work. This is where the sweat, tears, and hopefully not too much blood, but this is where all that comes in. I also want to say that one of the biggest factors to motivation and to helping you move forward are small steps that you accomplish.
Having those small wins, having those great conversations, figuring out little pieces of the puzzle, those help motivation. There’s a great book about this called The Progress Principle, which I will put in the show notes. It’s an excellent research study that was done by Teresa Amabile at Harvard and her husband, Steven Kramer. Really interesting but it’s all about that really the biggest motivator for us is making progress on our challenge.
Just to summarize what we talked about so far. We did some assisting and resisting. We made a list for those people. You looked at creating an action plan and then narrowing down what are the things you can do immediately, the next day, the next week, and so forth. You can probably imagine that while in the Implementation process, you will continue refining and adjusting your action plan. I don’t know that there has ever been a creative project where the action plan that was created in the beginning never changed. It seems completely ridiculous to think of that. A reminder: If you get stuck in your plan, you can repeat the CPS process over and over for various small challenges you have within the bigger solution. You can also just pick and choose sections of CPS to do. Maybe just ideate or just develop, depending on what is needed. This Iteration process is part of creativity. I mentioned it in Episode #1 when we talked about defining creativity where part of creativity and innovation is making those changes, the constant cycle of going through that CPS process. I say this because I don’t want you to get discouraged. Chances are, the ideas are going to take work. Dig in, dive in, and figure out how can you stay engaged, motivated.
I’ll just share with you a challenge that I have been having lately. You know all that I’m working on my dissertation and I’m in Chapter 2. I’m writing chapter 2, which is one of the bigger chapters usually in a dissertation. It is taking me way longer than I expected. I thought it might take me about three months and it has taken me probably 6-8 weeks longer than I thought so far.
I will admit, I’m getting a little frustrated and tired, a little bit burned out but what I’m finding is that as I’m writing, I’m continuing to refine my ideas. I’m going through that ideation and development over and over for these small little pieces of the chapter. As I do make progress, it is actually pretty motivating. I’m at the last bit. I’ve got about 90% done. I’m hoping I can get that 10% done in the next few days.
One of the things that have been incredibly helpful is having an accountability partner. There’s a friend of mine who actually lives in Ohio, we’re not even in the same place, who is also doing her dissertation. She is also about the same place that I’m at. We talk on the phone twice a week to just check in with each other – how is it going? Where are you at? What are your goals for the next few days? What’s interesting is that when there are times where we can’t talk for whatever gets in the way, I find that my motivation does sort of decline a little bit and those phone calls are so valuable for me and for her.
We’re really motivating each other. I would recommend find someone that could help you stay motivated. It might be someone on your team. It might be someone who is not even involved in the challenge that you’re working on but somebody that you can check in each week, maybe twice a week where they can just keep you on track and you can keep them on track. You can share your successes with them. You can share your struggles. You can talk about your goals. You guys can really help each other stay motivated.
Here is your weekly challenge. Every episode I am ending now with a challenge for the week. To create your action plan and do one thing towards your solution. One of the biggest motivation is just small steps, making little progress. See what you can do to get things started to move forward.
Before I close, I want to say Thank You to those of you who are listening and those of you who have written a review. I love reading them and they help the podcast rate higher in iTunes which means more people find it and listen. I wanted to share a review from a listener. This one is from Tina Hallis. The review is titled “Solid and Useful Information, 5 stars.” Tina writes, “As a scientist, I really appreciate that Amy shares information based on research. This podcast is not just someone’s personal ideas. It is solid strategies and concepts that have been studied and tested. She presents the information in such an engaging and clear way while also explaining how you can use it for yourself. Creativity is not just for artists. It is a critical skill we can all learn and use in our work and our lives to find new solutions, new ideas, and new approaches. Thanks Amy.”
Thank you, Tina Hallis, so much for writing that review. That’s awesome. Just a reminder, podcast review contest ends in Sunday, July 12th. If you haven’t written a review, go into iTunes, write one right now before you forget. You could find more details about the contest as well as the free workbook on the show notes, which is ClimerConsulting.com/007. Thank you so much. You all have a wonderful week. Work on your weekly challenge. Go get creative. Get that creative challenge started and I’ll see you next time. Bye.
Note: The links on this page may be affiliate links. That means I get a small commission of your sale, at no cost to you. However, I only share links to products that I or my guests believe in. Enjoy them!